This ice-cold melon soup is a bowl of pure refreshment on a hot day. It's a play on the classic combo of prosciutto and melon, but with a little twist. I first saw my friend Max do this dish a few years ago and I thought this re-invention was pure genius. The pureed melon is smooth and delicious and the prosciutto chips add a nice, salty crunch. The idea of adding orange juice and honey come from Pascal, the head chef at Chez Ma Grosse Truie Cheri. The honey and orange juice help make the texture extra smooth and add to the soup's flavour without distracting from the taste of the melon. A bit of fresh herbs will brighten up the flavour even more. I like using lemon balm, but mint and basil also work really well.
2 cups honeydew melon, peeled & chopped
2 cups cantaloupe, peeled & chopped
2 cups watermellon, peeled & cubed
2 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup lemon balm, finely chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 350F
1. Lay the slices of prosciutto in a single layer, without touching, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven until crispy, about 10-15 minutes. How long they take will depend on the thickness of the prosciutto. Keep a close eye on them because they can burn easily.
2. To peel the melons, cut them into wedges and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Run the knife along the bottom to remove the peel. Cut the cantaloupe and honeydew into rough pieces and then place in the blender. Cut the watermelon into small cubes and then put in the fridge until ready to serve. Check the watermelon for seeds as you cube it.
3. Combine the honeydew, cantaloupe, honey, and lemon juice in the blender. Blend on low for one minute and then on high for one minute more. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour or in the freezer for 10 minutes.
To serve: Divide the soup among bowls, leaving room for the watermelon. Add a generous amount of cubed watermelon to each bowl. Garnish with fresh lemon balm and a prosciutto chip.
Derek Bocking is a professional chef with over 15 years culinary experience. On his blog, Derek's Kitchen, he shares restaurant-style recipes for amateur gourmets to try at home, from quick and easy meals to more elaborate showstoppers.
by Derek Bocking